The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world, and it is also the worlds most watched sporting event every four years. Here are some interesting facts about the World Cup.
• Brazil is the king – Brazil has won the most World Cups hoisting the trophy five times. They have qualified for all 20 of the tournaments held. A couple of other interesting facts is their biggest defeat was when they hosted the World Cup in 2014 losing to Germany 7-1 in the semifinals giving up five goals in the first 29 minutes, which was also a record. On top of that the biggest attendance for a match in the tournament was in 1950, also held in Brazil, where at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro 199,984 spectators watched Brazil take on Uruguay.
• US peaks early – The best finish by the United States came in the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay where the Yanks lost to Argentina in the semifinals.
• Guns aplenty – in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 in a match with 60,000 fans a referee in the match ordered a search of the crowd and in excess of 1,600 guns were confiscated.
• Steal the bus – In the 1974 World Cup in Germany the Zaire team attempted to steal a bus they were given for the tournament and drove it back to Africa, but they were caught before leaving German soil.
• Qualifying match sparks war – In 1969 in a World Cup qualifying match between El Salvador and Honduras the aftermath was a war between the two nations where in the span of only four days 2,000 people were killed, and 100,000 were displaced.
• Hide the hardware – During World War II FIFA’s Italian Vice-President Ottorino Barassi, smuggled the World Cup trophy out of q bank in Rome and hid it under his bed. It remained there for most of the 1940’s, as there was a major concern at the time that the Nazis would steal it.
• Qatar spending big – The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, and while there has been much controversy surrounding their bid, there is no doubt they spent big in order to be the host. It is estimated that they spent more than 60 times what South Africa spent to host in 2010 and more than 15 times what Brazil spent in 2014. Much of the costs will be going to the outdoor air-conditioned stadiums in the country, where the temperatures can get sweltering in June when the tournament is held.
• Nice prize for a goal – The United Arab Emirates (UAB), surprisingly, qualified for the 1990 World Cup and prominent statesman Sheik Mohamed promised that every player for the team that scored a goal in the tournament would receive a brand-new Rolls Royce. Ismail Mubarak and Thani Jumaa were the two players that earned the new luxury cars netting the only two goals for the country.
• One and done – For every World Cup, but one the knock-out-final stage is used to crown the champion. However, in the 1950 tournament FIFA tinkered with the format and used a round-robin one, which was not popular and scrapped right away.